Saturday Night Glee-ver
Within seconds of Saturday Night Glee-ver strutting on to screen, there's a glittering disco ball in shot. If that sounds like too much to take, then you're definitely in the wrong place (and have probably never watched an episode anyway) but, despite its horrendous title, Glee's dedication to disco is a thoroughly enjoyable diversion that also happens to advance some of the season's character arcs while boogying away in flares and platforms.
The key to its success is having our teen characters loudly declare early on that 'DISCO SUXXX'; by putting the youngsters at odds with an enthusiastic Will and Sue, and most likely echoing the thoughts of younger viewers who don't know who John Travolta is, the writers have the perfect setup to showcase some of disco's finest moments and celebrate the ultimate musical underdog story, Saturday Night Fever. All the kids get involved, with Blaine leading a rendition of 'You Should Be Dancing' that fits in with Nationals' 'vintage' theme and is the catalyst for the two co-coaches to get the team disco dancing. A shatterproof plexi-glass dancefloor is installed in the choir room and Schue 'n' Sue initiate a dance-off, with a replica Tony Manero white suit up for grabs; of course, this is all a cunning ruse to give a trio of 'no direction' New Directions members a bit of a shakeup.
Mercedes has the big voice but doesn't know how to get heard, Santana wants the fame whatever route she takes to it, and Finn... well, Finn doesn't know what the hell he wants to do. With a little help from their mentor Schue, a lot of help from The Bee Gees and big big help from Glee club allies, by the end of the episode the three of them are certainly on the right track to 'Staying Alive' and achieving their dreams. Sam helps Mercedes go viral (in the good way, not the bad), while Brittany uploads a sex tape spliced with footage of her cat doing 'everyday chores' in an effort to get Santana noticed, thereby making her girlfriend realise working hard at college is better than taking the fast-track lane to fame. Meanwhile, even though he can't dance, Finn learns from Mr Manero's graft to the top and decides to move to NYC with Rachel and pursue his dream of acting. And all this, to a selection of discotheque classics such as 'Disco Inferno' and 'More Than a Woman'. Gosh!
The episode also introduces the fourth and final Glee Project contestant to appear in the series; Alex Newell, around for a couple of episodes, gets a juicier bit of story so far than either of the actual winners as the show's first transgender character, Wade aka Unique. You'll either dig the inclusion or want to mute the TV whenever he is on screen (I'm the latter), but at least the fact that Wade is a member of Vocal Adrenalin means Jonathan Groff returns as the gloriously obnoxious Jesse St James.
However, this B-plot is something of a needless distraction from the disco diva antics as the show proves that, even when in danger of jumping Jaws, it has plenty of musical mileage to mine and turn into fun, entertaining TV.